• Report: #219872
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Thu, November 09, 2006
  • Updated: Thu, August 11, 2011

  • Reported By:Atlanta Georgia
ibm.com Nationwide U.S.A.

IBM - Their Idea Of A Good Employee Fire lay-off Atlanta GA

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: IBM - A numbers game

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Been there, done that.

*UPDATE Employee: I feel your pain

*Author of original report: ...more...

*Author of original report: IBM: Culture of lies

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Wholeheartedly agree

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I was recently laid-off by IBM. There were two of us left (from prior lay-offs) in our department.

One of us (ME) received many customer letters of appreciation, constantly received notifications of "very satisfied" customer surveys, worked my tail off to see that every customer was satisfied and that work was performed quickly, and completely. On the down side, I tended to be late with my paperwork like customer billing.

The other technician had received numerous customer complaints over the years. Customers commented on a regular basis about how arrogant and rude he was. He strung out repairs unneccesarily over several days. He ordered wrong parts, causing service delays. In other words he was a complete disaster as a technician. BUT.... he was a paperwork* fiend who loved to stay up nights, on his own time even, doing customer billing and any other kind of reporting and paperwork you can imagine.

Guess which employee IBM chose to keep. Not the one who is dedicated to customer service excellence. They chose to keep the one who is dedicated to getting the QSARs (They drive the billing process) done quickly. I was told (off the record) that he was chosen because he "does his paperwork like clockwork." Never mind that the way he accomplished this was to get up early and stay up late to do the paperwork on his own time. The reason I was often late with paperwork was that we really were not given enough time in the workday to get the actual service work done, plus the paperwork. As an hourly employee, I refused to work off-the-clock and I guess this was my downfall.

Yes, in a way, It's my own fault that I lost my job. If I had been a paperwork nut like my partner, I would probably be the one still working for Big Blue. But I am just a bit bitter about losing my job when I was the one who cared more about the customers and about doing a good job.

So my point is just to let people know that IBM hires and keeps technicians who are good accountants and awful service providers while they lay-off technicians who are more technically proficient and better at driving customer satisfaction. Next time you have a bad service experience with IBM, maybe this will help explain.

* When I say "paperwork" this is really mostly online entry.

Atlanta, Georgia

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/09/2006 07:59 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ibm/nationwide/ibm-their-idea-of-a-good-employee-fire-lay-off-atlanta-ga-219872. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

IBM - A numbers game

AUTHOR: littlebobby - (USA)

I, too, was outsourced after nearly 15 years with IBM. Over 500 service techs were sent to another company supposedly to work on printer contracts and Lenovo desktops and laptops. This was a slap in the face as most of us were way advanced beyond such calls (attending to servers and networking for major accounts). Strangely enough, almost all of us were 45 years old and up. After a year or so IBM set up the other company to fail, taking away the best printer accounts and leaving us with end of life junk to support, some printers we had never seen before. Support also knew very little as their ranks had been decimated, too. They would only release one part per call, so if an access panel broke in your hands after 10 years of heat and vibration you had to replace the part you were given and set another call for the $2.00 part they should have sent you with earlier. They told the company that in the future they would pay only per incident, not per call and would not release more than one part at a time. Not being able to make a profit the other company did not choose to continue its association with IBM but kept its association with Lenovo. The printer contract went to an even cheaper vendor.

I saw this coming and already was interviewing when the layoff came. Fortunately the firm I had just interviewed hired me 2 days later at a substantial salary increase and I now have the best position I've ever had and am with a great company that still believes in customer service and treats its employees like human beings.

IBM has become a numbers game, one day someone plugs in a cheaper number on their spreadsheet and you're history, it doesn't matter how long youve been there and the outstanding results you've had. The process is more important than the outcome and the customer is little more than some pesky insect, customer sat and service is almost nonexistant at the company that developed the standards that others used to follow.

 My first 8 years or so were full of promise and growth. I was on the path to first line manager but that all stopped when the manager who hired me moved to another position at IBM and they instituted manager roulette, a new one every 9-12 months. Some were great but many were incompetent, given a position by their higher-up buddies to preserve their worthless hides. It's hard to find your manager's hot buttons and have a relationship with them when they're a voice on the phone 1,000 miles away and you might see them once a year. Once a great company with outstanding benefits and growth potential, its now just another place to work and just another notch on your resume. When the rewards quit coming, you move on. People are doing the unthinkable, leaving IBM and word is out that Big Blue is just another meat grinder job, they grind what they can out of you for a couple of years and either you wise up and move on or they terminate you for someone cheaper. My contacts at IBM report that there have been several fishing expeditions by auditors to get rid of people for the flimsiest excuses, such as not being able to account for a part used 2 years ago on a call. 

IBM has resorted to recruiting at job fairs and general on-campus recruitment, something they never had to do in the past - they used to contact the department head at a college and discretely ask to interview the 4 or 5 best and brightest students, not letting their presence become known by the great unwashed.

My advice to those still in this toxic swamp - RUN,RUN,RUN, it ain't gonna get any better. If you're thinking about working at IBM pass it by unless you can get valuable training and experience from them. However, it still looks good on a resume if you're fairly young.

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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Been there, done that.

AUTHOR: Taylor - (U.S.A.)

I am also an ex-IBM employee, who worked for the company for 8 years. I could write a hundred pages on how IBM screws both their employees and their customers, but I'll just pick one example. I received service awards, numerous customer letters, piles of "very satisfied" survey results, but in a tight year my manager refused to give me a raise because I was late on two time sheets in an entire year. This was the year before the interactive review process started.

My raise would have been about $1200 for the year. I was ticked off enough to quit, but jobs with decent medical coverage were hard to find, so I stuck it out working for IBM for 4 more years. BUT.... even though I didn't get the money, I did get some satisfaction. From the day my manager contacted me and informed me I would not be getting a raise, I waged financial war on IBM for the next 4 years.

Every time the call comments specified A-alert, I complied to the letter, and did the A-Alert even if the customer wanted the machine fixed 2,3 days or even a week later, and even if the EPSCI had the part in stock. EVERY time I received a part with the slightest problem, I returned it as defective. My best one was a part that had a repair cost of $4000 and on 3 or 4 different occasions, I returned them defective for missing mounting studs that I could easily have removed from the old part. When I traveled, I turned in the maximum meal charges every day even if I didn't eat at all. When I had to fly, I waited until the last possible day so that the tickets would be as expensive as possible. It seemed that every day there were new opportunities to cost IBM more money.

I have conservatively figured that my "war" cost IBM at least $60,000 over the 4 years. All because they were so cheap and stingy that they refused to give me the $1200 raise that I deserved.

THEN... there was my coup de gras. The IT director of a local company, who is a long time personal friend of mine, was ready to spend $350,000 on a complete network replacement; servers, routers, hubs, workstations. He was vacillating between IBM and Dell and since he knew that I not only serviced IBM but also Dell servers and workstations because IBM was a Dell service provider, he made his decision based on my input. By the time I was finished running IBM down, there was no way that he was going to buy Big Blue.

So I count about $410,000 dollars of damage (less their actual manufacturing, shipping, and warranty costs) that IBM suffered, all because they p*ssed me off. And all perfectly legal.

Excellent job, IBM. I'm sure your stockholders would be thrilled to know how the company saved $1200 to lose over a hundred times that much.

That's what you get when you tick off a passive-aggressive person. I hope some manager reads this who has never before considered the repercussions that can come from leaving an employee feeling that he has been screwed.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

I feel your pain

AUTHOR: Tom - (U.S.A.)

IBM "cooks the books" with their techs on client sites. For example, let's say it's Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Everybody leaves real early, but we're told to sign out for 8 hours. I won't do that so I'll leave that day blank and let the "lead" or "approver" pencil in the 8 hours. That's how I sleep at night.

One more thing, every IBM supplemental engineer or contractor is in dire need of medical/dental benefits. I know a gal at the Belo Brodcasting account that's on Medicaid, but works for IBM 40 hours a week. Another person was a full-time regular at IBM for 10 years. You know what? IBM laid his *&* off and brought him in as a contractor. That sucks!

IBM is so PC that when they get a contract that outsources to them, they lay off the white guys and make the minorities supplemental engineers. The funny thing about that was when IBM came by to welcome them to IBM, the supplemental engineers weren't allowed to partake in those little $2 7-11 sack lunches! I got a good laugh at that one.

IBM offers me a position every year and every year I say "no way". I know the instant I accept a position, I'll be moved (get it? I-B-M, I've been moved) Wisconsin or worse, Minnesota. I wonder if ---- is hiring. That's my piece guys. Best of luck to you.

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#4 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Antoine - (U.S.A.)

Sorry, in the post I just made, I forgot to point out that the IBM manager didn't even have the balls to do his own dirty work. He presented the official company line, then left so his underling could tell us we had better still make the numbers, or else. This way, if any of us had complained to Armonk about this two-faced program, he could have claimed no knowledge and the poor sap of a group leader would take the fall.

Did I say I'm glad I don't work for IBM anymore?!
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#5 Author of original report

IBM: Culture of lies

AUTHOR: Antoine - (U.S.A.)

I too am glad to be an ex-IBM employee. The thing that bothered me the most was what I call IBM's culture of lies. We were expected to routinely falsify information in order to make the "numbers" look good.

IBM has many large clients, many fortune 500 customers. These large customers often rely on reports that IBM prepares and sends them with service levles like time between call receipt and arrival at the customer site, (called making the ETA) travel time, time spent on repair, etc.

For example, a call may have come in at 7am and we were contractually required to be there by 11 am. If we arrived at 11:15 or 11:30, we were expected to lie and falsify the arival time so that we arrived at, say 10:55, in order to avoid contractual penalties for missing ETA's.

This is standard operating practice. Everyone did it. It was the only way to survive. If a technician reported arrival times accurately, his or her numbers would look bad compared to everyone else.

Now for the worst part: About 3 or 4 years ago, IBM came out with a new policy of honesty in reporting. The party line was that dishonest reporting hid flaws in the system. For example, if we were missing ETA's then perhaps we needed more technicians in the area. Honest reporting would allow the company to make decisions based on valid data. There would be no repercusions for honest reporting.

I was very happy. It bothered me to lie and falsify the service call "numbers." Our manager explained the whole program to us in an employee meeting. Then he excused himself and said that the group leader would finish the presentation.

Hold on to your Hat! As soon as the Branch manager left the room and closed the door, the group leader smiled and said that the new policy was all well and good, but regardless of anything that was said, what "they really want" is to "make the numbers." Management wanted us to be honest if possible, but it wanted more for the numbers (like the ETAs and repair times) to be made within contractual time frames.)

In other words, IBM made a big dog and pony show about honesty and accuracy, then told us that it was still business as usual. I guess I don't have to tell you that nothing changed. Everybody continued to mis-report arrival times and repair times as before.

IBM's customers should be concerned because they are being cheated out of their contracted response times that they are paying for by an ingrained system of record falsification that is part and parcel of the IBM culture.

I, for one, am glad to be an Ex-IBMer.
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#6 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Wholeheartedly agree

AUTHOR: Tracy - (U.S.A.)

I wholeheartedly agree with your idea that IBM doesn't always make the best choices when laying people off. I was an executive assistant with IBM and was laid off 4 years ago this past June.

I had been hired almost 3 years prior to that after working for them for quite some time as a contractor. Within my first 18 months, I received a 10% raise and was promoted....almost unheard of in that short a period of time. In addition to my regular job, I was a stand-up trainer, teaching techniques and software to other administrative assitants and was involved in several different councils and mentoring activites. I worked on a special task force of other administrative people on employee morale and took a special interest in helping less experienced employees. I was very good at my job, had received several monetary awards and several accolades to management on my behalf. I prided myself on positive attitude, worked overtime when needed without claiming it, was punctual and filled in without question when needed, all while executing my job professionally and happily. My original manager left and we got a new manager just a few scant months before the round of layoffs.

Yet, when IBM chose administrative professionals to lay off, I was on the chopping block. It was quite a shock to say the least. Everyone I worked with was completely shocked and couldn't believe it. I thought I was doing everything I could for the company in my small little world. It made me mad for a while cause I "bled blue" and those that didn't, well, they were still working there. Some with terrible attitudes or other issues...they were kept and I was let go.

IBM paid for me to enjoy that summer with my son. Then I made a conscious career choice and found something where unfortunately, I made half what I made at IBM but with far less stress and I'm still at that same job today. I have far more flexibility and only work school hours. It works out wonderfully cause I'm home to walk my 10 year old to school and am home to pick him up when school ends. When my daughter is born next month, I'll be able to bring her to work with me. I don't miss the IBM atmosphere at all. I found there was a silver lining in being laid off as there is in fact life after IBM.

Good luck to you.
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